Bishop Gorman proved it could play with De La Salle

The Bishop Gorman High School football team proved it could play with De La Salle before taking a 28-14 loss on Saturday night in Concord, Calif.
The Gaels led 14-7 at halftime in the game televised by the CBS College Sports network.
The matchup between the nation’s No. 9 team De La Salle (USA Today rankings) and No. 18 Gorman attracted a standing-room-only crowd estimated at about 4,000.
It was a big-time high school football atmosphere. No question about it.
The host Spartans provided a shocking beginning to the game by when Antoine Pickett returned the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown.
De La Salle led 7-0 before either team ran a play from scrimmage.
Coach Tony Sanchez’s Gaels tied the game when junior halfback Shaquille Powell
scored on a 2-yard run and Colin Ditsworth added the extra point with 1:03 left in the first quarter.
The drive went 82 yards after a De La Salle punt. The big play was a 73-yard pass play from quarterback Anu Solomon to Evan Zeger down to the 8-yard-line.
Gorman took a 14-7 lead when Powell ran for a 17-yard touchdown with 10:27 left in the second quarter.
Sophomore wide receiver Ryan Smith made a great catch of a Solomon pass for a 35-yard gain to the Spartan 17-yard-line for the big play of the drive.
The Spartans tied the game midway through the third quarter after recovering a fumble at the Gael 19-yard-line and scoring on the next play.
The turning point of the game came with the score still tied 14-14 in the fourth quarter.
Powell scored an apparent go-ahead touchdown for Gorman on a spectacular 25-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
But the touchdown was nullified because officials called a questionable illegal motion penalty on the Gaels.
That call was crucial, to say the least. It was a huge momentum changer. Gorman went from having a significant momentum surge to having the air let out of them with the controversial call.
To make matters worse, before the Gaels could run another play, they were called for a delay-of-game penalty, putting the ball back to the 35-yard line and even further out of field-goal range.
The 52-yard field goal distance was too long and Ditsworth’s attempt fell short although he is an outstanding kicker and I’m confident he will receive a Division I scholarship.
Give credit to De La Salle. The Spartans drove down the field to take the lead at 21-14. They added a touchdown with 1:30 to go in the game for the 28-14 victory.
De La Salle did control the game in the fourth quarter with a strong running attack.
Sanchez knows his team put on a good showing for the crowd and television audience.
“We’re proud of our kids the way we fought,” he said, noting the opening kickoff put his team in a hole.
Sanchez also said the Gorman fumble inside the 20-yard-line which led to a De La Salle touchdown and the Gorman touchdown which was called back were the
plays which led to Gorman’s downfall.
“The defense did a fantastic job and the offense did a pretty good job,” Sanchez said. “The offensive line really did a fantastic job handling their guys very well.”
“On defense, the front eight all did a fantastic job against their veer. The defense did a fantastic job all night,” Sanchez said.
“The whole game came down to the touchdown called back. They ran the clock out after that.”
Sanchez called Powell’s 25-yard touchdown which was called back one of the best runs he’s ever seen by a high school runner.
“He broke five tackles,” Sanchez said.
Powell had 111 yards gained rushing.
“Saturday night we looked like a great team,” Sanchez said. “We just couldn’t overcome a couple of things.”
Frank Fertitta III, chairman and CEO of Station Casinos, was a two-way standout lineman on the 1979 Gorman large-school State championship team.
And, to say the least, Fertitta and his brother Lorenzo Fertitta are major Bishop Gorman boosters. Note I did write “to say the least.”
Gorman’s football stadium is named after their father, Frank Fertitta Jr.
Frank Fertitta praised the De La Salle crowd for its sportsmanship.
In fact, he praised everything about De La Salle, from its great football team to its outstanding marching band.
Fertitta said it was great for Gorman to be on the same field with De La Salle, which won 151 straight games between the 1992 and 2003 seasons.
“We hung with De La Salle. We weren’t embarrassed,” he said.
“I think Tony Sanchez has done an unbelievable job,” Fertitta said. “Tony Sanchez is the guy who brought Gorman to a new level. He’s not afraid to play the best.”
Fertitta’s 1979 State champion Gorman team included Danny Tarkanian at quarterback; halfback Brad Ezor, Chi Chi Bengochea, Mike Brascia (who played at Southern Illinois) and kicker Bobby Lozzi.
Gorman also won the State football championship in 1980 and Lozzi kicked game-winning field goals in both games.
Frank and his wife, Jill, have a daughter, Victoria, who is on the varsity cheer squad at Gorman and a son, Frank, who is a sophomore two-way player on the Gaels junior varsity football team.
Lorenzo Fertitta also has a son, Lorenzo, also a sophomore two-way player, on the Gaels JV team.
Gorman wrestling coach John Field also knows football. He was a star high school player in Ohio and received a scholarship to Southern Illinois, where he was a teammate of Brascia.
Field played as a freshman on Southern Illinois’ 1983 NCAA Division I-AA national championship team. As a senior, he was a 1-AA All-America defensive back for the Salukis and signed a free agent NFL contract with Tampa Bay.
Field, who played one year in the Canadian Football League with Toronto, walked the sidelines at De La Salle.
“I think it was a great experience for the Gorman team, coaches, staff and fans to go play a team like De La Salle,” Field said. “Gorman put itself in a position to win when it scored a go-ahead touchdown but it was called back. Give De La Salle credit for winning the game in the fourth quarter. De La Salle was as well-coached as any high school football team I’ve ever seen.”
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